Keep Up with News Using Twitter Lists

There has been much said about Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader, and while for many people it is just another closure of a little used service, for lots of others it means losing a valuable source of news.

If you had come to rely on Google’s news reader to keep up to date with the latest news and posts from your favorite websites – including Web.AppStorm! – you could turn to Twitter to plug the gap. Here we’ll take a look at Twitter lists and show how they can be used as a viable alternative to RSS feeds.

Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter.

Lists are a great way to keep different content grouped together on Twitter. Rather than having a feed populated with everything you follow – companies, websites, friends, colleagues, brands, etc – you can create lists that are tailored to different things.

You don’t have to follow too many people before your Twitter feed spirals out of controls. Lists can help.

You don’t have to follow too many people before your Twitter feed spirals out of controls. Lists can help.

There are many uses for lists. You can create numerous lists to help keep your corporate and personal content separate. You can view all of the tweets from musicians you follow in one place. And, of course, you can create lists that deal solely with news.

The Twitter Option

There are actually a couple of ways in which you can use lists to make better sense of your Twitter feed – it makes sense to start by taking a look at the default manual option. Head over to the Twitter website, click the gear icon to the upper right of the page and then select the Lists option.

Hidden in plain sight – you might not have notice the Lists option, but it’s been here all along.

Hidden in plain sight – you might not have notice the Lists option, but it’s been here all along.

Click the ‘Create  list’ button and then enter suitable name and description. You’ll notice that the list you create can be public or private, and descriptions really come in useful if you decide to create a list that is going to be made available to others.

Private lists can be created for your own benefit, or you can create shared ones for others to use.

Private lists can be created for your own benefit, or you can create shared ones for others to use.

Click the ‘Save list’ button and you can then set about the task of adding people to the list. You can add people you already follow to your lists, or you can search for other users – the process is virtually identical.

You can perform a search from the Lists page, or you can head to your Following page. In either case, click the button to the right of a user’s details – the head and shoulders icon –

Adding Twitter users to a list takes little more than a couple of clicks.

Adding Twitter users to a list takes little more than a couple of clicks.

You can then select which of your lists the selected user should be added to. You can add them to more than one list if you like; just tick the relevant boxes and you’re done. Notice that you are also given the option of creating a new list if you find that you don’t have a suitable one ready to work with.

A tick box is all that’s needed to add or remove a user from one of your lists.

A tick box is all that’s needed to add or remove a user from one of your lists.

Readymade Lists

Just as you are able to create lists that other people can make use of, so there are hundreds of readymade lists that have been created by other Twitter users. Rather than spending time creating your own from scratch, you might want to browse through what’s available to see if there’s anything of interest to you.

Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to browse through the lists that have been created by the people you follow. Go to your main page and click the Following link to the left of the page.  Click a user you think may have list that you’re interested in and click the ‘Go to full profile’ link. Click the Lists link to the left of the page.

You can browse through lists create by people you follow and subscribe to them yourself.

You can browse through lists create by people you follow and subscribe to them yourself.

In the main body of the Twitter profile to the right of the page, you will see that there are two sections to Lists – ‘Subscribed to’ and ‘Member of’. In the former category you’ll find lists that have either been created by the person you follow on Twitter, or that they have subscribed to.

Click the ‘Subscribed to link’ and, assuming you have similar interests to the people you follow, you should find some list that appeal to you. Click the name of any that sound interesting and you can read the description as well as seeing which Twitter accounts are included.

Everyone you follow on Twitter is a potential source of new lists.

Everyone you follow on Twitter is a potential source of new lists.

If you like the look of what you see, click the Subscribe button to the upper left of the screen.

Just as you are free to add an Twitter user to a list of your own, so other people are free to do the same with you and other users – unless there a particular account is blocked, at least. By browsing through the lists that people you follow have been added to, you may well discover a wide range of interesting new sources of news and information.

Click the ‘Member of’ link on the Lists page and you can browse through and subscribe to lists in exactly the same way

You can subscribe to lists that people are members of as well as those they have created.

You can subscribe to lists that people are members of as well as those they have created.

In Summary

Whether you are looking for a way to replace the news following aspect of Google Reader, or you are just looking to make your Twitter feed slightly easier to manage, lists offer a great solution.

While lists are not quite as versatile or as intuitive to use as RSS feeds, they are still extremely useful. They provide a great way to filter your Twitter feed so you are able to manage a large amount of information more easily.

By organizing different feeds into lists, you can save yourself having to trawl through thousands of tweets when all you are looking for is the latest news about Windows 8. Spend a little time setting up your lists, and you will reap the benefits.

Let us know how you get on.


Responses

Add Yours
  • I’ve been using lists extensively to keep the noise level at a minimum in my main timeline. Every topic of interest has its own list so that I can go list-by-list to check updates when I have a chance.

    It is unfortunate that Twitter keeps this brilliant features so far deep that most users aren’t even aware of it. Tweetdeck is one of the few twitter clients that do justice to lists by giving them first-class citizenship status, but who know how long it has left to live.

    • Thanks for the info. Tweetdeck is a great way to use lists I hadn’t tried before.

  • Interested topic has its own list so that I can check updates in the lists. It’s convenient! :)